Photograph of Rachel hikinh and photgraph of the products that Rachel saved from hotels and used up in 2014. Graphic of two money notes. Text reading, Women in Wealth: Rachel Smith Advice from the single lady that paid off her mortgage in seven years the

Rachel sees the world in a different way to most, through experiences and relationships as opposed to acquiring lots of possessions. She defines her values differently, bringing her lunch to work during the week and being careful about the comsumer purchases she makes so she can enjoy weekly pottery classes, horse riding, hiking and brunch with friends. This Women in Wealth feature will highlight three key insights from Rachel Smith, the single Brisbane based lady who bought her home and then paid off her mortgage in seven years.


  • Age when purchasing her first property: 28
  • Deposit saved: 10% deposit
  • Life mantra: “Face your fears, live your dreams”

During the day Rachel Smith* is a transport planner, and author of Decongestion. In her spare time she writes a weekly blog and mentors women to become Underspent. Being Underspent and breaking her shopping addiction for a life rich in experiences is summarised in her second book.

I met Rachel after seeing an article pop up on my Linkedin about how she saved 38% of her salary by changing her spending habits and buying nothing new or secondhand in 2014. This was something we had in common, I had just saved 33% of my aftertax income in 2017. I contacted her on Linkedin and met up with her in February 2018, bought her book, Underspent and devoured the content.

Rachel Smith Women in Wealth wisdom: Define your priorities

“Spending is all about choices,” Rachel shares. “It’s about figuring out what is important to you.”

A photograph of Rachel Smith hiking up Mount Coolum with the text on the image that satets, define your priorities Rachel Smith #underspent

For Rachel what was important was financial security and experiences such as hiking, charity work, people, horse riding and pottery.

“Spending is the only thing you can control,” Rachel emphasises.

Rachel Smith Women in Wealth wisdom: Write your budget and organise your finances

Having a strong budget is important and figuring out what works for you. Rachel uses the Electronic Envelope System with eleven different bank accounts for different budget lines, just like her Nana did with jam jars and budgeting.

Photograph of kitchen jars with money signs superimposed over the top with the statement write your budget Rachel Smith #underspent

Human beings suffer from Parkinson’s law and just like how work expands to fill the time reuqired your spending also expands to cater to your earnings. Rachel learnt this when she was at university when spending all the money when it was in just one bank account. By spreading the money across different categories she knew exactly what is was for and only spent the money she required. It also meant when she got a payrise or extra money in it was automatically allocated over to a special high interest saving account that was earmarked for regular additional lump sum deposits to repay onto her mortgage.

This means thinking carefully about how to utilise what you have or being creative which encompasses the Return part of Rachel’s four steps for paying off your house in seven years.

Return – put all the extra money you make into a high interest saving account and every 12 months make an extra lump sum payment. Another New Zealand member of the #debtfreecommunity called Bradie is on the last legs of paying off her $566,380 mortgage by using this method too

By knowing exactly what the budget was and having systems automated Rachel also made fewer decisions to make the budgeting process easier hacking and applying Schwartz’s theory of the Paradox of Choice. Leaders often apply this process to their life routines as the fewer smaller decisions human being need to make in a day mean that brain power is saved for the important decisions.

Rachel Smith Women in Wealth wisdom: Think outside of the box

This means thinking carefully about how to utilise what you have or being creative which encompasses the Learn part of Rachel’s four steps for paying off your house in seven years.

Learn – think outside the box for different money making envdevours such as driving for Uber, renting out your spare room or renting out your spare car space if it is unused

A photograph of all the hotel items Rachel acquired over many years that Rachel decided to use up in 2014 with the text Think outside the Box Rachel Smith #underspent

The above is some of the many items Rachel had collected and stored from work hotel trips over the years. In 2014 she decided to use up these products. It is always tempting to buy new items and stockpile items but instead of doing this Rachel did an audit and used up every single item that she had.

In summary the three key insights from the Woman in Wealth this month, Rachel Smith, to apply to my journey towards home ownership and financial freedom include:

  • define your priorities
  • write your budget and organise your finances
  • think outside the box

Buy Rachel’s book Underspent to read more detail about her year of being Underspent and how you can apply her insights to your everyday life.

*Disclaimer: The above article details what worked for Rachel and Rachel is not providing financial advice.

Be my next Women in Wealth

Would you like to be featured as my next Women in Wealth? I’ve been searching and speaking to women that have successfully purchased property and achieved things on their own to help inspire my journey as a single female working to purchase my first home on my own. If you are a woman that is succeeding in the area of personal finance or you know of a woman with some insights to share please get in touch.

The Economiss is a single, female, millennial on a mission to buy her first home in Australia. A Kiwi by birth, she jumped over the ditch after she finished her tertiary qualifications in search of employment. The narratives quite often showing up online overshadowed her thoughts of buying a house alone changed in 2017 The Economiss started super charging her finances and saved over 30% of her after tax income towards her house deposit as well as cash flowing four overseas trips. In 2018 The Economiss got a promotion, moved to a new city, cashflowed her first car, and is still working at saving $1000 a fortnight towards her first house deposit. Do you have some tips to share or want to be featured on the blog, please get in touch!

Women in Wealth: Rachel Smith
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